Eve Gross | Torrey Pines High School Senior
On Aug. 25, thousands of students worldwide let out a sigh of relief as they walked out of the testing center after four hours of the SAT (Scholastic Achievement Test). Some sophomores and juniors were hopeful that even though it was their first time, a good score would allow it to also be their last. Others were already on their third or fourth try.
But, soon after, those sighs of relief were cancelled out by the return of panic, this time because it became public that parts of the test had been leaked online prior to the date of administration. As it turned out, that test had actually already been administered in Asia a year before, and someone had gotten pictures of it and posted them for all to see.
People assumed that with such blatant evidence of a security breach, the College Board, the company that owns the SAT, would cancel the scores. Why? Because, other students’ prior knowledge of the answers would mean that the test would gross more perfect scores, which they would submit to colleges and make them more competitive applicants. There was also much concern over how such a high amount of perfect scores would affect the curve.
The College Board, however, refused to cancel the scores, releasing a statement saying that they’ve “worked to strike a balance between thwarting those few students seeking an unfair advantage and providing testing opportunities for the vast majority of students who play by the rules,” but that they would cancel scores for students who they determine gained unfair advantages. Students wonder how the College Board expects to isolate all of the kids who cheated, given that the answers were online. It remains unclear how the cheating affected the curve.
Bea, a junior at Torrey Pines High School, took the SAT for the first time in August, and said that better prevention measures are required. “It is a global test, and reusing tests is something that the college board should know will backfire,” she said. “With over 750 million dollars in revenue, they should spend the money to make a test for every month and avoid the scandal that occurred in August.”
Lily, a senior at Francis Parker who took the test for the second time, said that if the incident had already happened, she would’ve spent her weeks prepping for the ACT instead.
According to Reuters, the College Board has reused tests before, but there also have been numerous incidents of sophisticated cheating rings and people having others take the test for them.
“Improved security is a must, but you can’t ignore the fact that the area we live in, and many other places, are such competitive atmospheres that some students feel like cheating is their only option,” Lily said. “Something about that has to change.”